Photo by: National Cancer Institute

Sucking Less — Responsible Suckage Reduction

During our early life, Responsible Solutions Limited (RSL) improved many processes for large organizations. Most of these were around the development, deployment, operations, and maintenance of software.

We had a modest goal, our goal was not to achieve perfection, but simply to make things suck less.

Photo by Warren Wong

And sucking less makes a difference. Sometimes a huge difference.

In the workplace today, for a lot of people things really suck. For example, Owen Hughes reports that in a Wakefield Research study of Data Engineers

  • 97% reported feeling burned out
  • 78% said they wished their job came with a therapist to help them manage stress,
  • 79% of those surveyed said they were thinking about leaving the data engineering field altogether.

Clearly, this is a domain where things need to suck less.

And it’s not just data engineers. Not a day goes by where we don’t see a heartbreaking confirmation about how much work sucks for the majority of workers in a particular field, or how much it sucks for workers as a whole.

Photo by Jackson Simmer

It is expensive to replace workers. And damaging to the companies in a host of other ways.

It is damaging to the workers, their families, and society as a whole. It seems to be spreading through employment like cancer. (Unlike covid which is merely a plague.)

It may be hard to fix entirely, but it’s not that hard to make it suck less.

If you know how to make it suck less, you should be doing so.

If you don’t know how to make it suck less in your organization, you need a Responsible Suckage Audit, and then you will know.

The audit isn’t free.

Fixing some parts of the problems is.

And other parts are not.

Photo by Aditya Naidu

And fixing small parts of it is much cheaper than having to replace workers.

And after we make things suck less, we could consider actually making things wonderful. Once the suckage is handled, that takes very little money, though greater quantities of time and of will. It’s legitimately a harder problem. But has great rewards.

Happier more engaged workers lead to higher profits, more rapid growth, and phenomenal increases in market capitalization. If evidence of this will get you to act, we’ll happily give you a stack of studies, stats, and examples. But I expect you already know it’s true.

It’s not a matter of knowing, it’s a matter of will.

So instead of making things perfectly perfect, I will ask for something smaller. Much, much smaller. You can make things suck less.

What have you done to make things suck less?

What can YOU do to make things suck less?

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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals


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